Deconstructing The New John Lewis Christmas Advert

It is that time of year!!


We've been waiting all year in anticipation for the new John Lewis Christmas Advert and I love this year's effort.

I know not everyone is a fan. Personally, I think it is more about people possibly not liking Elton John but the message of the advert is brilliant. If you're not a fan, you can always use the adverts I have previously blogged about here:



Here is this year's advert:


As always, I would start with the text, What text I hear you cry? The song! One of my favourite songs, I just love it!

YOUR SONG

  • Why do you think the song has this title? 
  • Who is this song going to be about?

It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money, but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but, but then again, no
Or a woman who makes potions on a traveling show
I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song, and this one's for you

  • What is funny at the start? His feelings.
  • Why would it be funny? Maybe he's never felt like this before. 
  • What might be the feeling inside? When you feel excited or slightly nervous, you get butterflies in your stomach.
  • What do you think is causing this? His love towards someone.
  • What can't he easily hide? His feelings
  • How might he show his feelings? Discuss how love affects us on the inside, outside and through our actions. 
  • Does Elton consider himself poor or rich financially? In between, he says I don't have much, but has enough to survive.
  • If he was rich, what would he buy? A big house
  • If you were rich, what would you buy? 
  • Do you think this song was written early or late in Elton's career? Why? Early, he is now very successful and lives in a huge mansion.
  • Why might he be a sculptor? So he can show his love by creating a masterpiece.
  • Why does he then decide against it? He might think he would be rubbish or it isn't a career that he would enjoy.
  • Why would he want to make potions? Maybe make a potion to make the person he is singing about feel the same way, or change the way he looks/acts if he doesn't feel happy with himself. 
  • What is his gift? This song
  • Does he feel it is valuable? No, he says it isn't much but its all he can do.
  • Do you think it is valuable? Open for discussion. If this song is successful it will become financially valuable but having someone value you enough to write a song or poem is special.

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is, now you're in the world

  • What does he hope this song will do? Fill the person with joy and confidence to share it with everyone.
  • What do you think is quite simple? The lyrics and message of the song.  The vocabulary and imagery created in this song isn't very complex or too deep. He is fairly blunt in his message about his feelings.
  • Why does he repeat the phrase - I hope you don't mind? He recognises the person may feel embarrassed, especially if the feelings aren't recipricated. But he wants to assure the person that it is fine.
  • Why would he put it down in words? He might not feel confident enough to tell them in person so writing gives him the opportunity to share his feelings.
  • Who else might use words to share their feelings? Authors, poets 
  • What does he want the person to realise? That they may Elton's life wonderful by simply being in it. 
  • Who makes your life wonderful? 
  • When was the last time you told them? 
I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well, a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on
  • Where was this song written? On the roof of a house.
  • Is the house old or new? Old
  • Why? He kicks off the moss, moss grows over time. Interestingly, the writer of the lyrics, Bernie Taupin, allegedly wrote the song’s lyrics after breakfast one morning on the roof of 20 Denmark Street, London, where John worked for a music publishing firm as an office boy.
  • What does cross mean? Angry
  • Why would writing make him cross? Writing his hard, especially when you are trying to share your feelings, it can be hard to find the right words. With a song, it can be more challenging especially with rhyme and rhythm. It can also be interpreted that the person they are writing about might not know how they feel or feel the same way.
  • When do you think he wrote this song? Spring/Summer
  • Why? The sun is out.
  • What figure of speech has he used in third line? Personification - the sun has been kind.
  • How might the sun be kind? It might stay out longer, keep him warm.
  • Can people keep the sun turned on? No
  • What does he mean by that line? The sun produces a hormone in our body called Serotonine. This helps reduce depression and anxiety and can heal wounds. Obviously, too much can be harmful, but the sun makes us feel happier. He is telling the person that they bring the same benefits as the sun. 
So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do
You see, I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean
It's yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

  • Give me a word to describe the singer? Forgetful, ditzy. 
  • Do you think the writer of the song is a confident person? No, he decides to express his feelings through words and as demonstrated in this verse, he struggles to get his feelings across.
  • Why might he not remember the colour of the person's eyes? He was just lost in them. It doesn't matter the colour, they are just beautiful. 
  • Why might someone's eyes be deemed sweet? They are considered the windows to your soul.

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is, now you're in the world

I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is, now you're in the world

  • Why has the song finished on this line? It is a lovely line that epitomises the meaning of love. The people we love make our lives better.
  • Why do you think this is one of Elton's most popular songs? 
  • Who did this song remind you of when you listened to it? 
It is important to discuss how love can take many forms and we love people in different ways. The last line can apply to so many different people in our lives.

  • Can you make a list of people who make your life wonderful by being part of it? 
  • Who do you think Elton is singing about when the song was originally written? Open for discussion. The song was composed and performed by Elton John but the lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin. Elton John hadn’t come out as gay yet, but Bernie Taupin knew, which is part of the reason why the lyrics avoid using gendered pronouns.

  • Why do you think this song was chosen for the advert?
  • Who do you think Elton is singing about in this advert? His mother or the piano.
  • List the ways in which he could be singing about his mother and how it could be about his piano.

Considering the advert as a whole:

  • What is the message of this advert? Giving someone a gift can help them find a passion.
  • What does John Lewis sell?
  • Why have they chosen to focus on a piano for their advert? It isn't about the specific gift, it is about what the gift can do for someone.
  • Why have they chosen Elton John? He is one of the most successful entertainers ever and so it proves the point more when it relates to someone so successful.
  • How does this advert relate to Christmas?
If you do explore other adverts from the previous years. Compare which children like more and ask them to justify their reasons. 

I will be posting some more ideas for this advert over the next couple of days. But these will be exclusive to the supporters of my Facebook page. You can sign up by clicking the picture below:





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